Tweed Shire Council is being urged to lobby major banks the shire invests with to stop their support of the coal-seam gas (CSG) and fossil fuel industries.
Cr Katie Milne wants councillors to back her move for the mayor to write to the big four banks asking they divest from the industries and provide ‘greater support for renewable energy and ethical investments’.
But the Greens councillor is unlikely to get majority support for her notice of motion at next Thursday’s council meeting, with the National-Party aligned faction, which consistently votes against her many moves for change on environmental issues, in majority.
Cr Milne said council’s August report identified that ‘only 36.93 per cent of our investment portfolio now meets the standard of the Australian Ethical Investment criteria’.
She said that just last month Newcastle joined other councils around Australia with plans to divest from the fossil fuel industry, including Lismore City Council as well as the ACT Government.
Tweed Shire Council had $211,433,820 invested as at 31 May 2015 and the accrued net return on these funds was $641,235 or 3.64 per cent annualised for the month.
Minister ‘wimps out’ on CSG
Meanwhile, NSW energy minister has been accused of ‘wimping out’ on protecting the northern rivers from CSG.
Ballina MP Tamara Smith said that industry, resources and energy minister Anthony Roberts had failed to guarantee the region would be protected from the contentious industry.
Ms Smith won the seat of Ballina for the Greens at the last state election after the Nationals’ Don Page on the back of strong community support for the anti-CSG lobby which targeted sitting National Party MPs.
She said Mr Roberts had ‘wimped out, turned his back on the north of the state and is clearly bowing down to the coal and gas industry’.
‘Metgasco have got him over a barrel, and appear to be successfully holding the government to ransom over Bentley,’ Ms Smith said.
The Greens MP in question time yesterday asked the minister (a National Party member) for a guarantee that the northern rivers would be protected from coal seam gas, but she said he gave ‘absolutely no reassurance that his government would act’ to do so.
‘Not once did he acknowledge the overwhelming opposition to the industry in our region,’ she said.
‘Instead, he pathetically suggested the government couldn’t walk away from a company where commitments had been made in good faith.
‘What faith can we as a community have in this minister – his speech today made it clear he is siding with corporate interests and has lost control of the Metgasco situation.
‘The minister is still far more obsessed with a gas plan than a gas ban for the Northern Rivers.’
Yesterday the NSW Greens attacked the appointment of former federal MP for Richmond, Larry Anthony, a consultant for giant Chinese coal-mining company Shenhua Watermark, as the new federal president of the National Party.
The company has been given controversial federal approval for one of the world’s biggest open cut coal mines in the state’s Liverpool Plains, with farmers and communities outraged, fearing the food-bowl farming area is now under severe threat.
The Greens’ mining spokesman Jeremy Buckingham said it was ’clear that the modern National Party is nothing more than the political arm of the mining lobby’.